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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  December 29, 2011 1:00pm-3:00pm PST

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>> so, obviously, we had to ask some of the democrats in washington, d.c. what they thought of that. didn't get much response except for brad woodhouse at the democratic national committee. of course, he says the president isn't scared of any of them, but says the american people ought to be frightened to going back to the same failed policies of the previous administration. >> thank you, joe. >> that's it for today's edition of news room. i'm going to hand it over to my colleague, wolf blitzer, for the situation room. thanks very much. happening now, a new sense of urgency for republican presidential hopefuls campaigning in iowa after our new poll shows rick santorum's stunning climb. his rivals are already trying to knock him back down. the key campaign aide jumps off the michele bachmann band wagon and jon huntsman rolls the dice on new hampshire. i'll interview both candidates. that's coming up live in our
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next hour. egyptian officers raid the -- they may have made some powerful enemies in the process. one group is chaired by madeleine albright. the other is chaired by john mccain. i'm wolf blitzer. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room". -- captions by vitac -- the clock is ticking. we're only five days away from the iowa caucuses. the focus has now turned to a certain degree, to rick santorum. an extraordinary surge in his poll. can rick santorum keep on climbing? joe johns has been following santorum in iowa on the campaign trial. joe, how did it go? >> well, wolf, good news and bad news for rick santorum. he's doing better in the polls.
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the bad news is he's the latest target on the campaign trial. what on earth took this guy so long to get traction in iowa any way? >> what's going on right now in iowa and i see it with the crowds getting bigger. i think they'd be bigger in any circumstance. people are focused. >> here's a guy who spent more time in the state than any other candidate. totally speaks the language of evangelicals and they've ignored him for months. now, suddenly, the lights and cals are all over the place. not what they wanted at first, but the only one left. the last one standing. >> it's a matter of compare and contrast. >> surging late is better than not at all, but it comes with its challenges. including attack ads. rick perry just drilled santorum for requesting a billion dollars in earmarks while he was in congress. >> which republican running for president voted for the bridge
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to nowhere earmark? susan from des moines. >> rick santorum. >> correct. >> santorum doesn't deny it. >> i did. earmarks, if you look in the constitution, earmarks are things in the per view of the constitution. i earmarked. jim demint earmarked. congressmen here in iowa earmarked, but what happened was abuse. >> the biggest committee is how he intended to compete with romney. the guy who behaves like he's got what he needs to go to november. >> i think we're doing pretty well right now. we're going to go to new hampshire after this. >> and he's bought ads in new hampshire, where he's been polling in the nether regions. he always loved to talk tough, which matters on the right. he's been slamming president obama as well as ron paul claiming he's a liberal stalking conservative votes.
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some of the other candidates are gotten hurt when things from their past popped up or caused them trouble. i asked santorum about that in today's interview. he says he's already been vetted. with him, what you see is what you get. >> so he's ready for a bunch of negative attack ads. they did powerful damage to newt gingrich. is he ready for that onslaugt assuming he does relatively well? >> that's what he says. he pointed out to me he is very much a known quantity having been on capitol hill for so long in washington, d.c. his point being that basically all the questions about rick santorum and his private life have been asked and answered. >> thank you. so, what's behind rick santorum's remarkable surge in iowa? what lies ahead for some of the other candidates who have failed to make an impact with that state's social conservatives?
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does our new cnn time orc poll offer some answers? joining us from iowa, mark preston and cnn political editor, paul steinhauser. paul, first to you. what are we learning in these polls that might help us better appreciate what's goin on? >> social conservatives, wolf. mark, you know that social conservatives as you said, are so influential on the republican side. santorum, because of his stances on abortion, gay marriage, he's really made a pitch for them. take a look at new poll numbers. this is among self-described born again christians here in iowa who are likely to go to the caucus. look who's on top. rick santorum. 22%. that is one reason why he has been zooming up, tripling his numbers. wolf, another thing he told you, hard work pays off. i know he said that yesterday. one other number i want to share with you and mark, five days until the caucuses.
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43% say they might change their mind. they still may change their mind. anything could happen. >> when i was in iowa the last few days, a spoke with a lot of likely iowa caucusgoers and they said they've got preferences, but they're more than ready to change their minds once they go to those schools, churches, those civic centers. this is not a secret ballot. they have to express to everyone who they're supporting, so that's tougher than just pulling a button in a booth. what about some of these other candidates like perry, bachmann, john hun huntsman. they got serious problems. >> the headlines out of the cnn orc time poll was the rise of rick santorum and the fall of newt gingrich. but if you look deeper, it spells deep trouble for perry and bachmann. let's take a quick look at this poll from yesterday. our cnn orc time poll of likely gop caucus participants. their choice for nominee. we've matched that up against
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our poll from earlier this month out here in iowa and it shows that michele bachmann and rick perry have only been able to move the needle by two percentage points. over the past few weeks. the big question now for michele bachmann and rick perry, can they have enough movement in the next five days to at least place in third or fourth place, get another ticket out of iowa and have their campaign move on? moving on to new hampshire, jon huntsman, who placed his whole presidential run on a big win in the granite state or strong showing. we did a poll earlier this month up there. it shows he's not moving the needle at all. so while again, the headlines out of our polls yesterday was strong showing from mitt romney in new hampshire, really strong in iowa here as well. there are three candidates right now that have to be asking themselves what can they do to try to get voters to support them and wolf, as you know, our
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viewers know, bottom line is that these early nominating contests are very much a win process as the march for the republican presidential nomination moves on. >> we look forward to seeing who, if anyone, drops out on wednesday, the day after the iowa caucuses. if the seven candidates go down to six or five, maybe four. we'll see what happens. remember four years ago, guys, on the democratic side, chris dodd was running for the democratic nomination. basically moved his whole family to iowa. didn't work out that great for him in his bid, so we'll see what happens this time around. guys, thanks very much. while most of the republican candidates have been running themselves ragged in iowa and digging deep into their campaign war chest, only a small percentage of iowa voters who take part in the caucuses. so here's the question. what's this fuss all about? mary snow has more. >> there has long been a debate about iowa, why iowa and whether
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it should hold the nation's first presidential contest, but with no agreement on an alternative, as long as iowa's first, it gets plenty of attention. republican presidential hopefuls make the final sprint in iowa as they crisscross the state, campaigns and supporters flood the air waves with ads. $8 million worth and counting just this month. so how much could a win in iowa matter? that depends. >> this was the place where america remembered what it means to hope. >> for barack obama, a victory in iowa proved to be a game changer. on the republican side, a different story. >> tonight, i love iowa a whole lot. >> mike huckabee's upset victory in 2008 with the help of iowa evangelicals failed to gain momentum outside the state. john mccain was the eventual nominee. when you take a look at who won in iowa compared to the parties
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of eventual nominee -- a win was not only crucial for barack obama, but in 2004 for john kerry and particularly in 1976 for jimmy carter. on the republican side in recent years, iowa victors george w. bush in 2000 and bob dole in 1996, went on to win their party's nomination, but their wins in iowa were not as crucial to their campaigns. started in 1972, the caucuses are more about win ouing down the candidates and some political watchers say the iowa contest has become more about the media attention. >> it's essentially in and of itself -- suort and especially funding tends to dry up and if a candidate does better than expected, that support tends to expand and in particular, funding. campaign contributions tend to increase. >> last presidential election, about 118,000 republicans took
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part in the caucuses. and in iowa, there's a stronger focus on social issues than other parts of the country. 60% of gop caucusgoers in 2008 described themselves as evangelical or born again christians. now, wolf, the turnout of republican caucusgoers in 2008 amounts to roughly one fifth of the number of registered republicans in the state. estimates for what turnout may be this time around are just about all over the map. wolf? >> partially, the weather will be a factor. older people might not necessarily want to leave their homes if it's really, really cold next tuesday night. but based on my an ek doe tall impressions, spending a couple of days there this week, i think they're going to have pretty good turnout. i suspect more than 118,000 who showed up four years ago. >> this time around, there's so many caucusgoers who are more
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uncertain and the enthusiasm factor as well. >> we'll see what happens. mary, thanks very much and join us in the cnn election center for the first votes in the republican presidential contest. our coverage of the iowa caucuses begins tuesday night, 7:00 p.m. eastern. it's the one rumor that just won't die. the obama citizen quest for some people out there. today, someone in the audience asked newt gingrich abt. you're going to hear his answer. and non-profit groups are raided in egypt. some of them with major ties to some of the most important people here in washington like john mccain and madeleine albright. an outrageous step in cairo. we're going to tell you what's going on. the ramifications are enormous, especially when it comes to the billions in u.s. assistance that goes to egypt. ous.
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>> male announcer: book now, save up to 65%. call 1-800-sandals. egyptian police raiding the offices of three u.s. based prodemocracy human rights organizations, seizing computers and documents. part of a massive sweep against these organizations. one of the american groups is chaired by a former secretary of state, another by a powerful u.s. senator. and mohammed jamjoom is joining us now from cairo. it's outrageous what's going on in cairo right now. tell our viewers what happened on this day. >> well, wolf, we spoke to the
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spokesperson for the general prosecutors office here. he confirmed to us that security forces conducted 17 raids of nongovernmental organizations in cairo today targeting at least ten groups across the country. the targeted group included freedom house, national democratic institute and the international republican institute and i spoke a short while ago to julie hughes, the country director for ndi. she said this was very surprising that at about 12:50 p.m. local time here today, there was a sim ul tan yous raids of three of their offices in the country here that laptops were taken, paper, electronic devices. some financial records and she says that they had heard before that they were under investigation, but that they didn't get any more really information beyond that. this is something causing a lot of outrage here. a lot of rights activists in egypt saying this is something that wouldn't have even happened
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during the mubarak days, and a lot of people calling in to question just what the ruling military counsel here is intended to send, what kind of message they're intending to send with these actions. a lot of people here believe this is a clear indication that the supreme counsel of the armed forces are not going to allow a true democratic civil society to flourish in egypt. >> these are organizations that promote democracy, monitor elections. i don't know if the military leaders know that the former secretary of state is the head of the national democratic institute, republican senator john mccain is the head of the international republican institute. do they have a clue what's going on here? how outrageous this is? >> wolf, if they didn't know before, they certainly are getting an indication now. this is a very, very big deal. it's bewildering why the supreme counsel of the armed forces or
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the general prosecutors office, why they would do this kind of an action, especially targeting these american u.s. organizations. it just doesn't make any sense cht it's sure to strain u.s.-egypt relations at a time there's already a lot of tension here. even in these post revolutionary times when elections are happening, in the past couple of weeks we've seen an inkrecrease crackdowns that have gone on against protesters because military tribunals are still going on and this really something that's only going to add more tension not just within egypt, but especially within the u.s.-egypt relationship, which is such a crucial alliance. >> they're going to have to reverse this and start returning those laptops and all those documents they ransacked those offices in cairo. we'll stay in close touch with you. thanks very much for that update. we're going to have more on this
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story coming up, including a very, very angry reaction coming in from the obama administration from members of congress. remember, the u.s. provides egypt with billions of dollars in assistance every single year and i suspect that money is right now up in the air, very much on the line, unless the situation there reverses and gets back to the way it was. more on the story coming up. meanwhile, elsewhere in the world, just a day after the extraordinary funeral for north korea's so-called dear leader, kim jong-il, there's been another similar ceremony as his son, the so-called dear successor, jim congrekim jong-u declared the new leader of korea. >> this was the moment mourning ended. three minutes of silence observed by hundreds of thousands across pyonyang. state media claims a site replicated across the whole country. an hour earlier, speeches
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eulogized the man both revered and feared within his country. the ceremonial head of state spoke of kim jong-il laying the foundations for better relations between the two koreas. a claim that would surprise many outside north korea. anything north korean is, a grand show to the world of solidarity. not only for the late, dear leader, but for the new, supreme leader. a show of national cohesion. under the age of 30, with no military or political experience, kim jong-un front and center of proceedings for a second day running now commands a 1.1 million strong army. at least that is what these pictures are intended to snow. >> kim is to take some traditions and leads to -- more military power and because more allegiance and loyalty from the
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military, so that might require some more time for him. >> kim jong-un's priority now according to experts is to fill the positions of power left vacant by his father. there's been a flurry of diplomatic activity around the region recently, showing there is a continued fear of the unknown with this military succession. u.s. officials are effectively saying that the ball's in north korea's court and they'll wait until this new leadership is ready to start negotiating again. paula hancocks, cnn, seoul. saudi arabia getting ready to splurge big time on a fighter jet. to the tune of billions and billions of dollars. the white house is thrilled for more reasons than just one. and the iowa caucuses are all over the news. but there's another iowa contest with a $16.5 million prize winning moment that is still waiting. what do you got? restrained driver in a motor vehicle. sir, can you hear me? two, three. just hold the bag. we need a portable x-ray, please!
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lisa sylvester is monitoring some of the other top stories in "the situation room," including a multibillion dollar weapons sale to saudi arabia. >> saudi arabia's making a big
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holiday purchase. $30 billion worth of f-15 fighter jets. the modernization of another 70 planes. the white house claims the deal will provide a $3.5 billion boost to the u.s. economy and support 50,000 american jobs. amazing video from an ireporter in myanmar. an explosion rocked a residential neighborhood killing 20 and injurying more than 95. police official says the blast which happened at a compound of warehouses was most likely caused by a combination of chemicals and not a bomb. verizon wireless will soon make some customers pay more for just paying their billion line or telephone. the $2 convenienience fee goes o affect on january 1st. and the lottery winner in iowa
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has until the end of the hour. better hurry up there, to claim a $60.5 million prize. the winning ticket was bought a year ago at a quick trip in des moines. if it's not claimed, it would be the second time in a week that a lottery winner failed to come forward. on monday, a $77 million ticket went unclaimed in georgia. so check your lottery ticketed if you happen to buy a ticket. >> please. depressed someone would be to find that six months from now? will president obama's re-election campaign try to rewrite the playbook for victory? a new video suggests his campaign could look to the west as it charges a new chorus to try to win in 2012. and proving you can hunt is a rite of passage for most republican presidential candidates. there are signs that voters'
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rick santorum surged, newt gingrich slide and the failure of a couple of other candidates to make a dent. our new poll raising new questions about what the republican field might look like beyond tuesday's caucuses in iowa. joining me now is the "time" magazine columnist, joe klein.
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you've covered these events for a long time. i assume there would be one, two, maybe three people who drop out after iowa. what do you think? >> i don't think there will be. i think that you know, if bachmann, if michele bachmann continues to do poorly and her support may be bottoming out at this point, she has a real day job. she's going to have to run for congress again, so she may drop out. rick perry has a day job as well. he's the governor of texas and if he doesn't do well in iowa and then new hampshire, he may drop out. i think newt gingrich is going to stay in and see how he does in places like south carolina and florida where he's still strong, at least according to the polls and you know, and ron paul ain't going anywhere and i don't know if rick santorum is at this point either. and then there's jon huntsman, who -- >> jon huntsman is not going to drop out after iowa because he's not even competing in iowa.
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he saved his -- >> it appears in the polls, he's not catching on there. he's hovering around 10, 12%. i think by this point, he would have wanted to throw some fear into the romney campaign. he's not doing it. >> i've been reading your stuff come out of iowa for as long as you've been watching this stuff. >> you're not that old. >> you write good stuff. >> thank you. >> here's the question. is this any way for americans to elect a president of the united states with so much of the emphasis of 120 people showing up tuesday night in iowa. >> it's not going to change and you know i'll say this. you want to start this process on a retail basis where politicians have to meet -- make
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their arguments in detail. that happens in both iowa and new hampshire. i could see rotating it to other small states, but you want to start with small states, so that the candidates who have to prove themselves in the most intense and personal way. i can't imagine, i'm not smart enough to come up with a better system. even though everybody who suffers through this and kind of enjoys it in our masochistic way, understands that it could be better. >> i just came back from iowa. the folks there are delightful, but not necessarily as the united states as a whole. neither is new hampshire for that matter. >> it's overwhelming white states. there are other small states -- i would love to have it start with the hawaiian primary. we could spend the whole winter there, but a state like delaware or rhode island is more representative of the state as a whole, but still, when you're
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trying to mess around with the basic format of this, all kind of arguments come into play and it's really very hard to dislodge aiea and new hampshire from the top spot. in the end, the question is, what do we get out of it? do we get the best possible president? and i think given you know, the state of money and politics and the incredible marketing and negative advertising as we've just seen these last couple of weeks in iowa, i think that you know, to change the process, you're going to have to change all that stuff, too, and i don't see that happens given the way the supreme court is. >> president obama is doing a little campaigning in his home state of hawaii right now. he's starting the hawaii primary, if you will. he's enjoying himself. let him enjoy and relax, he's going to be busy in the coming weeks and months. thanks very much. in iowa, i sat down with
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mitt romney and his wife, ann. we spoke about a lot of stuff, including the nature of this campaign that's already marked by a constant stream of attack ads. listen to this. is it nastier this time around? >> i don't know that i can compare that. campaigns are by definition entities that point out distinctions between candidates. you go back to the days of jefferson and adams, my goodness, they were going back and forth with various attacks and people took a look at some things they discounted, other thinging they believed, but it was informative and people make a decision. i'm not going to complain about a political process that's been this way for a couple of hundred years. >> it's politics. so, when newt gingrich says it's balogna when you say you can't control the super packs attacking him on a daily basis, what do you say? >> well, we understand of course that super packs have to be independent of campaigns and campaigns can't tell them which advertisements to run. i can get up and say i decry all
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the negative ads, but i don't. this is part of the process. we could all wish that we had a utopian type political process, but the campaign process that exists is the way it's been for a long time. people, i hoped, that the ads that go up despite showing contrast and distinction and attack or whatever you want to say, i hope they'll always tell the truth. i would say to all these attacks running independent ads as well as campaigns. stick to the truth. and if they stick to the truth, white, then that's the nature of the process we're going to have. but i recognize if you're going to get in a campaign like this, you've got to have broad shoulders and if you can't take on the negative that's part of a primary, you're sure as heck not going to be ready for what's going to come from barack obama. if you can't handle the heat in this kitchen, wait until barack obama's hells kitchen. >> let's talk a little bit about, i guess it's a sensitive
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issue, an important issue. you say you're not going to release your income tax returns, the name of your bundlers, people raising money for your campaign. why would you want to do that? if you want to be president, the american people are expected to know anything. >> i don't have any plans to release my income tax returns. no other candidates have at to point. i'll keep open. what will happen down the road. never say never. but with regards to other disclosures, we'll follow and the people who have contributed and participated in our campaign expect us to follow the law. >> because the question comes up, what do you have to hide? why wouldn't the american public need to know who's raising money for you. >> there's nothing particularly to hide. it's just when people say what disclosures you've made, you follow the law. i don't put out which tooth paste i use either. >> people would want to know that. >> it's not that i have something to hide, those things
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we disclose, those things required by law and it's a pretty complete review. ultimately, your medical records, all of your assets, your investments are all made public. it's a process, a revealing process most people don't want to go through and as to doing more than what the process requires, never say never. we'll see what the future holds. >> because if you want to be president, you've got to expect everything to be open. can't take the heat, got to get out of the kitchen, if you will, so you want to be president of the united states. i've covered presidents now for a long time. very little that remains secret as you well know. >> i'm sure you're right. >> but at this point, you're not ready to say -- >> i'm not ready to release anything at this stage. we'll see what the future holds. >> you can see more of my interview, also my con ver sags with the other candidates in our saturday "situation room." it will air 6:00 p.m. eastern
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only here on cnn. getting ready for iowa. if president barack obama is in trouble next fall, could he flip the script with a change at the top of the ticket? we're taking a closer look whether a new name, specifically hillary clinton, could emerge in the number two slot. could that change? the president's fortunes in 2012. all of a sudden, some buzz on that. and newt gingrich. he doesn't go out of his way to support president obama, but he did defend him in iowa against one of the oldest charges against the president. and tastes simply delicious. for those of us with lactose intolerance... lactaid® milk. the original 100% lactose-free milk.
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rumor that the president of the united states wasn't born in the united states certainly hasn't died in some places. one of them is apparently some corners of iowa. when a so-called birther confronted newt gingrich today on the campaign trial, the republican presidential candidate didn't take the bait. >> item going to put you on the spot, so you may say yes, no, or will discuss at another time. according to the constitution, those who are running for offices in the united states, now, you know where i'm going
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with this. don't you? so, before you have your debate, why is mr. obama not happy exactly prove his citizenship as he's going to all these other countries besides leading our country. in arizona, if i have my facts correct, they are refusing to put his name on the ballot because he has not proven that he is a citizen. is that true? is that true? >> now look, let me answer this. i thought you were going to ask whether or not donald trump had citizenship. >> no. no. no chance. no chance. >> all i can report is the state of hawaii has certified that he was born there. we both with a taxi driver one day who showed us the hospital. there is every reason to believe
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he is a citizen in the states. the fact that he's already a terrible president, we don't have to go beyond that and try to find something beyond that. i just, you know -- i think in all fairness, this is one of those issues where it's a fact. he is the president of the united states. therefore at a factual level, citizenship is a moot issue. he is the president. he's not going to lose the presidency over that. he'll lose the presidency because all of us are going to vote him out, which is the american way of doing it. >> president's currently vacationing in hawaii where a new law is drawing attention to his views on same-sex marriage. let's bring in brianna keilar. what's going on? >> wolf, here in hawaii on new year's day, civil unions for couples become legal. now, same-sex marriages still not sanctioned under this law
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and it's a reminder of president obama's position on the matter. he supports civil unions for same-sex couples. he does not support same-sex marriage, although he has said his opinion is evolving. when president obama and his family ring in the new year here, many same-sex couples in hawaii will celebrate for a different reason. civil unions become legal here on january 1st. >> now, our state has finally said we support you and that gives us a really good feeling. >> monica montgomery is from the town where the obamas are vacationing. her partner of 30 years went to the same high school as president obama. shortly after midnight on new year's day, they plan to seal their civil union with a ceremony. >> why is it so important to do it at that very moment? >> because we've waited so long. normally, i wouldn't be functioning at 12:30 in the
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morning, that's not a time i would choose, but we want to do it and do it right away. >> they call it a step in the right direction because there's a big difference between states allowing civil unions or marriages and the federal government condoning marriage. same-sex couples do not qualify for federal rights afforded to hetero sexual married couples like social security, immigration rights or the ability to file federal taxes jointly. even in hawaii, marriage is defined by law is between a man and a woman. a position shared by hawaii's most famous native son. >> define marriage. >> i believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. now, for me as a christian -- >> as a candidate, obama supported civil unions, though he said the issue of marriage is best left up to the states, but this year, he's signalled he may change his mind. >> as i said, my feelings about
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this are constantly evolving. i struggle with this. >> the majority of democrats and even independent voters, support same-sex marriage. some say the president appears to be playing to socially conservative democrats who tend to be rural, older, white voters without a college education. >> the paradox is that he's already losing those voters. lost about three fifths in 2008. they voted even more heavily for republicans in 2010 and by avoidinging these issues, he may be disappointing the actual coalition that he could mobilize in 2012. >> monica and donna are part of that coalition cht they voted for president obama in 2008 and while they think he now privately supports their desire, they say that's not enough. >> what good does it do if you support it personally, but you don't put it out there for
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everybody to know? we don't want to keep waiting and waiting and waiting. >> now, the white house is very sensitive to the suggestion that president obama has not fully delivered for gay and lesbian americans, pardon me, wolf. you'll frequently hear white house officials touting what he has, don't ask, don't tell, and of course, the justice didn't has stopped defending the federal ban on same-sex marriage, but ultimately, it seems like this will be a decision for the courts. there's a number of legal challenges winding their way through the system right now, but it's a very possible. advocates think they won't see a resolution to this until after the election. >> brianna keilar on assignment for us in hawaii. good report. barack obama and hillary clinton, could that be a winning ticket for the democrats in 2012? we're going to discuss that and more. our strategy session is next. ph, you know, because you been, you know, this is what you had been doing. you know, working, working, working,
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get right to our strategy session. the democratic strategist, hillary rosen and terry holt. it comes up every few weeks almost. early october, i wrote this on our blog. i said if the economy is still
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awful next summer and obama's poll numbers are really low, he could throw a hail mary pass, ask hillary clinton to be his running mate. now, robert reich, the former clinton labor secretary writes this. my political preduction for 2012 based on in insight information, hillary clinton and joe biden swap places. if the european debt crisis grows worse and if china's economy continues to close, there's a better than even chance we'll be back in a recession. clinton will help deflect attention from the bad economy and put it on foreign policy where she and obama have shined. is that at all possible in your opinion as a democrat, knows what's going on, hillary rosen, that the ticket will be obama-clinton. >> based on no inside information as the key phrase -- based on my no information, but maybe more inside, there's just
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no chance. first of all, joe biden's a great vice president and hillary clinton's the first person to say so and he's an asset to the president on the campaign trial. they're close. there's just no need. the last time we were talking about it, just talking about this, this happened. richard nixon did this. it's just one more reason why i can say barack obama's nothing like richard nixon. >> how many votes does joe biden bring to the democratic ticket? >> not many. >> no, no, no. that was part one of the question. so, the answer is not many, right? how many votes would hillary clinton bring to the table? >> i think she's just a rock star. she's been an excellent secretary of state. she's been the one bright, shining spot of this obama administration. but i don't think she's going to get any closer to the white house while barack obama's in it. i think she outshines him on every occasion. >> would she energize the base if she were on the ticket? would women be more inclined to
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vote for president obama? that's a yes or no. >> no. >> really? you don't think she would energize the base and women? >> more than president obama -- >> more than biden. >> the thing that will energize the base the most is when republicans have a nominee because no matter who it is, none of them are saying that right things for women. president obama will. >> i don't see any energy in the democratic base. maybe that will change between now and next november. tlas plenty of time, but the youth vote's not going to be there. on foreign policy, been a virtual ab di kags of the obama agenda when he was a candidate from guantanamo bay to afghanistan. we haven't seen evidence yet there's much energy in the democratic base although i don't think hillary clinton would do that for them, it's certainly job number one. >> why if it doesn't happen, she can't campaign for him as secretary of state.
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she's a diplomat. >> right. >> she's a great campaigner. as a vice presidential candidate, she could campaign. >> she could. be a great campaigner. >> what about bill clinton? was he a good campaigner? >> he has a reputation of being a terrible campaigner. >> if his wife is on the ticket, would he be out there every single day? no, i don't think he's going to be out there as much. if hillary clinton were on ticket, he'd be out three, four times in iowa, pennsylvania. he'd been campaigning full speed ahead. if biden is on the ticket -- >> it would never be able to be on message. >> do you want to be a one term or two term president? >> i'd rather be a two term president, but barack obama is going to be a two term president. >> he's loyal. and joe biden's a great guy and he loves joe biden, but joe biden would be an excellent secretary of state, too. >> a lot of their base is similar. they do appeal to working,
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middle class whites. joe biden's done a lot of things for women. i think we're going to get plenty of energy when the republicans nominate who they're going to nominate. >> you're probably right, but i'm not ruling it out. if the economy deteriorates, if he sees his numbers going down, if mitt romney's the republican nominee, got a strong vice presidential candidate with him, he sees himself as a one term jimmy carter, that hail mary pass. >> 2016 for hillary clinton. >> she'll be 68 years old. >> plenty of time. michele bachmann hasn't had the best week. my life interview with her is coming up and rick santorum the surging in the polls right now. that means more scrutiny. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." i were going on vacation, so i used my citi thank you card to pick up some accessories. a new belt. some nylons. and what girl wouldn't need new shoes?
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[ male announcer ] icy hot spray. relief that's icy to dull pain, hot to relax it away. and no mess. icy hot spray. don't mess around with pain. here's a look at some other political headlines making news on the cnn political ticker including an analysis of ads in iowa with more bad news for newt gingrich. an analysis of the tone and focus of advertising in iowa by the campaign media analysis
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group shows that gingrich is a popular punching bag. nearly all ads were negative and aimed at the speaker. that dwarfed the 6% of ads that showed him in positive light. a fifth of all the ads were targeting mitt romney. he also enjoyed the most positive advertising, 10%. and the analysis by the group shows 3% of ads were infavor of ron paul. paul's campaign also got a visit today from occupy the caucus protpr protesters. they spoke out against his pledge to close the environmental protection agency if elected and some fans of kelly clarkson aren't happy after she announced her support for ron paul. the pop star tweeted. i'm quoting. i love ron paul. i liked him a lot during the last republican nomination and
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no one gave him a chance. the comment sparked a barrage of angry tweets, but clarkson isn't backing down saying i like ron paul because he believes in less government and letting the people make the decisions and mold our country. that is all. for complete political coverage, go to happening now, mitt romney enjoys bigger crowds while ron paul gets hammered by his rivals. this hour, major drama in these, the final days before iowans vote. i'll ask michele bachmann about a tart ling defection from her campaign. she's accusing ron paul's camp of offering money to her former iowa campaign chairman, so he would switch sides. but key figures are disputing that. we'll have more on that coming up. and i'll also speak with jon
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huntsm huntsman. he's taking his campaign on the leadoff primary state, but is not necessarily seeing a big payoff in the polls. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states around around the world. around the world. you're in "the situation room." -- captions by vitac -- five days before the iowa caucuses, the ground is shifting under the republican presidential candidates and they're bracing for another shake up before voting begins. in a matter of week, we've seen the newt gingrich bubble burst and the field rearranged. our new polls showing romney on top, rick santorum in third place. as the candidates scramble across the state looking for some last minute support. the romney campaign is riding high right now and enjoying his new momentum in iowa. or mitt mentum as some are calling it.
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jim? >> wolf, it's fitting that mitt romney stopped at the music man museum here in mason city, iowa today. a win for mitt romney in the state would spell trouble, big trouble with a capital "t," for his gop rivals. mitt romney has the wind at his back. >> it's a fair wind that blows today. >> a new air of confidence, romney is riding high on the polls in iowa, putting him within striking distance of a stunning win, far fewer trips than his rivals. >> sure, i want to win iowa. everybody wants to win iowa. >> he stopped at a museum dedicated to the music man. >> i feel like breaking into 76 trombones. >> and just a the music man might put it, a win could be trouble for the rest of the field. that's because no republican
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presidential candidate since gerald ford has ever won both caucuses and the new hampshire primary, where romney also has a commanding lead. have made that all too easy in recent days. michele bachmann going after ron paul -- >> a really dangerous president for the united states. >> and rick perry going after a resurgent rick santorum with negative ads. >> santorum voted for the bridge to nowhere and a highway bill full of pork. >> i made a big mistake in the spring. >> for months, romney aides and a pro romney super pack have carried out a shrewd strategy. selectively attacking rivals, while saying little about contenders like paul. >> it's not just about replacing the president. it's about saving the soul of america. >> he's also had time to work on his tea party street crede by taking on one of the favorite targets.
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federal funding for federal broadcasting. >> i like pbs. public broadcasting. but i'm not going to kill big bird, i promise, but there are going to be advertisements on pbs to help pay for big bird. >> boy, it's days like this that make me happy to be a bird. >> never mind the fact that "sesame street" and other pbs already have a type of advertising called sponsorships. brought to you by mcdonald's and figi resorts. >> and another side of romney's confidence campaign, the governor is planning a big swing through iowa and then romney will be in des moines on caucus night to watch the returns come in. if the returns are good, he could be very hard to stop. >> when i was with him yesterday, his -- seemed to be impressive. is that continuing? >> that's right. he has had big crowds all all of
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his stops since he's gotten back to iowa and his campaign is looking to seize on that momentum. you can also get the sense from watching his campaign operate, watching his aides behind the scenes, that they are trying to pack as many people into these events to create that momentum he has right now. he is on the move and you can get a sense of it when you're following on the campaign trial. >> his poll numbers i'm told with looking pretty good. all right, thanks very much. jim acosta in mason city. let's get to the other candidate on the upswing, rick santorum. i interviewed him yesterday in dubuque and i suspect even he's surprised by how well he's doing now. santorum is now about to get a whole lot more scrutiny. lisa sylvester is taking a closer look into his personal and political history. >> that's right, wolf. rick santorum is a devout catholic opposed to gay marriage
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and abortion and e he represented pennsylvania in congress, but he was defeated in 2006 by bob casey. now, he's back on the campaign trial running for president and for the moment, he's the gop's latest rising star. rick santorum has a gaggle of news cameras following him around these days, a packed room of eager listeners and rising poll numbers. the former pennsylvania senator describes himself as steady eddie. the guy you would take home to meet mom or dad. he has visited all of iowa's 99 counties. >> we got a game plan in place. we believe it will work, we believe we have the strongest message out there. >> that message is firmly rooted in faith and family. his political convictions are interwoven with his personal story. he was raised in butler, pennsylvania, by a mother who
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was a nurse and father who immigrated for italy. he and his wife, karen, have seven children. another child was born and lived only two hours. his youngest daughter, isabella, has a fatal genetic element. santorum recounts a moving story of one day when his daughter stopped breathing. >> i never forget seeing her not be able to breathe. we had a monitor. i put her on the bed and tried to do everything i could to try to get her to start breathing. the next thing i know, karen comes knocking me out of the way with a bag and does cpr and she comes back again. prayed that moment, please, please, let her live. i'll do everything to commit to her and not just her. but to every child like her. >> his daughter survived and is now three and a half years old. santorum is being embraced by evangelicals in iowa.
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>> rick santorum through the his career was defined as a staunch social conservative. >> but his record has also earned him the eyre of women and progressive groups. >> let alone abortion rights, a majority of people in this country don't want us to go back to the days where abortion was criminalized, so mr. santorum is drastically out of step. >> that may not bode well in a general election, but at this point, santorum has his sites set on winning iowa. and santorum is trailing behind ron paul and mitt romney in iowa, but his poll numbers have tripled in the last month. he is clearly piquing at the right time. >> he certainly is. basically put all of his bets on iowa. thanks very much for that. candy crowley is in des moines right now. she spoke with rick santorum.
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how did that go, candy? >> it was interesting. obviously, these are great times for him. i congratulated him, he said we've got a long way to go. i pointed out some other numbers in our polling to him because as you know, the closer we get to the caucuses or in the case of new hampshire, to that primary vote, the more voters are saying to themselves, what is the key and critical thing to republicans and that is who can best beat president obama. 41% of likely iowa caucusgoers say mitt romney is the most likely. only 4% say that about rick santorum, so i asked him about that. >> it's because most of the media says that mitt romney's the guy that can beato bam, but what history does -- you realize that polls change. convictions don't change and
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what we need is a conviction politician who'san a trust. that's what we need in this election. >> we also talked about some of the things why rick santorum thinks he has staying power rather than being just the next. i'm not perfect, but it's all out there. >> candy crowley from des moines. thanks very much. i've been interviewing the republican presidential c contenders this week. stand by for my conversations with michele bachmann and jon huntsm huntsman. struggling to make headway in new hampshire. and a dramatic increase in gun sales in the united states being pegged to the presidential race. we'll explain. with her checking her heart rate, administering her medication, and just making her comfortable.
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have to beat expectations, have to have a message that connects with the people here on the ground and that we have. i'm the only candidate in the race who by virtue of background and real ideas that i put forward will be able to tackle the two deficits that we face in this country. one is an economic deficit. need to fire our engines of growth, taking it to number one as a job creator, but just as important, wolf, we need someone who can tackle the trust deficit because i believe our trust deficit is as corrosive as the economic deficit and that means we have to have a candidate and president who can work for term limits in congress. who c and who can deal with the banks on wall street. we've got banks that are too big to fail and we're setting ourselves up for another bailout. >> here's what an editorial said today about you. i'll put it up on the screen.
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huntsman says he's a conservative on some issues such as tax policies. pretty good. but he constantly signals to moderates that he's really one of them when he goes in for global warming. he often comes across as saying what the audience wants to hear. go ahead and respond. >> well, the editorial board there at the union leader, they have their opinion and take their shots at all the candidates and i would ask them to do what other newspapers in new hampshire, we just got our fourth newspaper endorsement, we've picked up half in the state. take a look at my record and thai going to find that i'm the only consistent conservative in this race. pro-life. i always have been. pro second amendment. i don't vary. pro growth. i delivered the largest tax cut in the history of my state. health care reform without a mandate. i support the ryan plan on debt and spending. the list goes on and on and on.
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that's also one reason why a lot of conservatives are coming around. those who may have glossed over at the beginning because i crossed a partisan line to become u.s. ambassador to china and they're saying we missed something. we're now looking at huntsman again because his record does suggest that he is the real consistent conservative in this race. so we have that going for us while at the same time, we're moving in the right direction here in new hampshire. i can feel it with every passing town hall meeting. >> i seem to remember that the editorial page editors of "the wall street journal" gave your economic policy program a pretty good review on their pages. but let me ask you this question. are you a moderate? >> i am a consistent conservative. i was re-elected in one of the most conservative states of america with almost 80% of the vote. it would be hard to look at my record and suggest anything else
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and don't mistake a moderate temperment for a moderate record. let's not forget that information is crying out, wolf. crying out for our people to be brought together. we've got to be reminded that we're all americans at the end of the day and we've got to come together at some point to solve our problems. we're going to have our difference, but we've got to have a leader like i was in the state of utah who believes in bringing people together and believes in leading based upon the real american spirit. >> here's a radio ad that rick santorum has just put up. >> simple question. which candidate gives us the best chance of defeating barack obama? the answer, rick santorum. rick santorum has more foreign policy credentials than any of the candidates. >> all right. you want to disagree with him on that last point? >> well, i'd have to draw the spirit of pat buchanan in saying
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this, wolf, but i'm not sure that time spent in an international house of pancakes necessarily qualifies for foreign policy experience. >> in fairness, he spent a long time as the member of the armed services. >> rick's a terrific xwi and i respect his service. i've lived overseas four times, been an ambassador three times, including man imagining the most difficult relationship of the 21st century. that of china. i think the american people will recognize that and in the end, i think that will be an important consideration on their part because the world is complex and confusing. it's not getting any less so. and i think the american people are going to want someone who knows intimately well the chinese, when you look at our most important economic relationship going forward an our most significant economic
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opportunity and where our -- >> your foreign policy is vastly different than ron paul's. here's the question i've been asking to the other candidates as well. if he were to get the republican nomination, would you be able to vote for him? >> that's a hypothetical wolf and i ain't going there. >> a simple question, yes or no. >> no, it's not a simple question -- >> newt gingrich said he couldn't. mitt romney said he could. >> if ron paul -- >> rick santorum said he could. you think it would be a yes or no if he were to get the nomination? >> if ron paul would get to the finish line, i'd be happy to support him, but he's unelectable. mostly because of his world view. the american people are simply not going to support that at a time when the most tran senn dent challenge of this decade is iran and whether or not they acquire weapons of mass destruction. i think it will remain a hypothetical question.
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>> based on everything you saying, you wouldn't be able to vote for him. it's not that complicated of a question. >> i can't buy the isolationist views. i can't by something who's not going to be engaged with the world. the world is crying out for the values we project when we're strong. when our core is crumbling, we are not projecting the human rights and free markets. i want to fix that core. i want to get back on our feet. i want to get back in the game. >> governor huntsman, good luck. >> thank you, wolf. it's a pleasure to be with you as always. growing outrage here in washington following human rights orss working in egypt. up next, the prominent american who figures in behind and how they're responding. plus, mitt romney is credited
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bitter intensifying outrage here in washington following a series of surprise military, a raid targets human rights groups in egypt. we're just getting this picture in showing egyptian soldiers standing guard in front of one of the the organizations, all of which are very close ties to prominent american diplomatic leaders. let's bring in jill daugherty with the latest. the obama administration, democrats, republicans on capitol hill, a lot of folks here in washington are furious about what's going on in cairo right now by the military
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leadership there. tell our viewers what we know. >> wolf, that is precisely the word. they are fur rouse and at the briefing today, you really heard it. here's what she said. >> we call on the egyptian government to immediately end the harassment of ngo staff, return all property and revolve this issue immediately. >> okay, so the two organizations that we're talking about are ndi, national democratic institute and iri, the international republican institute. they're both ngos. they deal with educating and training people to monitor elections. basically with the nuts and bolt of democracy in other countries. and you know, wolf, if you look at the list, this really the heavy hitters of washington politics who are on the boards of directors.
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i'll give you some examples. ndi has madeleine albright as chairman. tom daschle, vice chairman. at ori, john mccain is the chairman. lindsey graham is there. kay granger and brent scowcroft and in november, hillary clinton gave a major speech on democracy at ndi. also, wolf, i have to tell you, i called over to ndi and they said that they have been swamped with calls from white house, capitol hill, everyone, so this is -- these are not just ngos that you might think of. these are some important ngos. >> in addition to ndi and the iri group, freedom house, what egyptian military, they just stormed these offices in cairo?
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took the laptops, took all their files, started arresting people because they're what, promoting democra democracy? here's a question a lot of people are going to be asking. the u.s. gives egypt billions of dollars in foreign aid every year. i suppose that's very much going ton on the line if this continues, if they don't fix this very quickly. >> you know, it could be and certainly, i was talking again with some people in this business who were saying that maybe the egyptians wanted to pick a fight. that maybe they are angry about the strings attached to the aid that goes to egypt. that could be a theory, but one of the people from ndi who has been with it for a very long time said that maybe they didn't know who was on the board. maybe they didn't know what was happening. they are going to get a backlash they weren't expecting. >> situation in egypt going from bad to worse. thanks very much jill daugherty.
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one analyst says a new defection from michele bachmann's campaign could pretty much kill her presidential bid. i'll ask her. my interview with her only minutes away and find out why a demand for guns is being linked to the presidential campaign.
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a huge distraction for
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michele bachmann's campaign right now. she's caught in he said she said controversy with a defector from her campaign. her former iowa chairman stunned everyone, everyone, by showing up at a ron paul event in iowa last night. he switched sides just hours after standing at michele bachmann's side at a rally. now, sorensen and bachmann are telling very different version of what happened. i'll speak with michele bachmann in just a few minutes. but first, lit's bring in shannon travis, one of our cnn political reporters. he's in iowa. you were there for sorensen's bombshell at this rally for ron paul. first of all, who's going on? what's the very latest in this saga? >> absolutely, wolf. this isn't october, but this may be the biggest surprise just days before the iowa caucuses. let me give you the latest. we're learning that wes enls, a key player in this drama basically. michele bachmann's iowa
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political director, that he was just let go from the campaign. i learned that because ron paul's campaign released a statement saying he was fired. i then got through to michele bachmann's campaign. they're telling me only that he was no longer with the campaign. now, let's back into the story. kent sorensen dropped this bombshell last night at a ron paul rally, saying he's now endorsing ron paul. michele bachmann today came out and addressed reporter questions about this. and here's what she said about a conversation she had. >> i had a conversation with kent sorensen and in the direct conversation that i had with him, he told me that he was offered money. he was offered a lot of money by the ron paul campaign to go and associate with a ron paul campaign. no one else knows about that conversation other than kent sorensen and myself and i know what he said to me about that. >> to me.
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now, that was michele bachmann from earlier today. take a listen at what kent sorensen had to say about that alleged conversation. he was also on cnn earlier >> that conversation never happened and as much respect as i have, the fact is, it didn't happen and it's unfortunate to resort to these type of tactics. >> now, as you just mentioned, this is a case of he said she said, wolf. the person that i just mentioned that no longer with the bachmann campaign, he sided with kent sorensen. he was earlier today the iowa political director for michele bachmann, apparently, he's no longer with the campaign, but released a statement saying it's not true that kent sorensen went to the ron paul campaign for money. >> what's ron paul saying about this?
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>> great question. i caught up with him also. you may be seeing some video of that. we tried to ask the congressman that question, that michele bachmann's campaign says he's the answer for this. he did not say anything but his campaign manager did deny it once again and said that the congresswoman needs to speak with her campaign. wolf? >> let's speak to the congresswoman right now. thanks very much. michele bachmann is joining us right now from iowa out on the campaign trial. you just heard shannon's report, congresswoman, what do you say? >> well, we need to tell the whole story on this because the part that you left out is the fact that kent sorensen's former campaign manager went on record with the ap saying that kent sorensen also told her that he had received a request to give a lot of money to him from the ron paul campaign andal, he told it to a number of other people who are starting to come out. it wasn't just me.
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i got the phone log on my phone that i had the conversation with kent, but the bigger story in this is why did it happen? because at the last debate in sioux city, iowa, i took on ron paul over his very dangerous position stating that he would do nothing to prevent iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. that makes him a very dangerous person to be our next president. the very next day, we started our 99 county tour. i'm standing here in aved ara, iowa. this is the last stop of the tour. for 99 counties, wolf, this has been the huge story. we've seen literally thousands of people after that last debate come out in all of iowa's 99 counties and say i'm now voting for r you. i was undecided and it's over this whole issue of ron paul coming out and being exposed for the dangerous president he would be and not preventing iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. that happened.
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we saw incredible momentum including the fact that last night, we had 150 new people call us saying they want to stand up for me in the caucus. literally had thousands and that caused the ron paul campaign to be very nervous because they saw the momentum shifting to my campaign, so they came up with this plan to offer a lot of money to kent sorensen, so our iowa director is eric wilson. he's now talking to the press about what kent sorensen said to him, too, but this is all about the ron paul campaign seeing the floor drop out and this is what happened. >> because he flatly denies there's money involved. he put out a state basically saying, i'll read a little bit of it for you. since then, he's been fired by the bachmann campaign for daring to tell the truth. is that the correct version? >> well, that's absolutely not
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true because i did have the conversation with kent. kent talked to a number of people in my campaign and the reason why this is happening is because we've seen unbelievable, remarkable momentum in the last week and it's because i took on ron paul in the last debate over his failure to keep americans safe and free an sovereign from a nuclear ron. that's what this is about, pure and simple. now you saw this huge offer of money. >> just clarify the political -- >> there's a lot of people -- >> the political director quit today as well. is that right? >> he quit and we've had kent sorensen's former campaign manager say kent told me flat out that he was getting money. he flat out told also eric wilson, who is the iowa director as well. he told a lot of people. there's people a mile long that he told that he was getting money and all of those people are coming out of the woodwork,
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making themselves available, so kent sorensen and i had the conversation on the phone and yesterday, kent even came out to our stop in iowa and he was there with me yesterday. he left our event and then went to the ron paul event. this is about money. this is about money. >> the political director left for money, too? >> seeing that the floor is coming out. >> did the political director quit -- >> you'll have to talk to him. you'll have to talk to -- you'll have to talk to him about it. but clearly, there are other people that kent sorensen talked to who he told that the ron paul campaign is offering him money. now, that's a very serious issue and that's one that only the ron paul campaign and they can deal with. but i've got my phone. my phone log that e shows i had a conversation with kent sorensen. that's when he told me, a number of other people on our campaign, that he was offered money by the ron paul campaign and clearly, this is about the ron paul
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campaign. very nervous. because people see that he'd be very dangerous for the country. op foreign policy, but also, people are figures out ron paul would legalize drugs that are illegal now. he wouldn't stand up for marriage between a man and a woman. i would. that's what this is about. people are making their. about half the people in iowa are undecided and this overflowing number of people have been flipping and going in my column. we would love to make available to cnn susan gettis, the former campaign manager for kent sorensen, eric wilson, our iowa director. there's a lot of people he talked to and eric wilson said he would go under oath and give his statement about what kent sorensen told him in response to the ron paul campaign offering a large amount of money for kent sorensen to defect to their campaign. >> we'll get our reporter, shannon travis, on the story. one quick question before i do.
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we're going to continue this conversation on the other side. if he were to get the nomination, ron paul, could you vote for him? >> it's never going to happen, wolf. ron paul is not getting the nomination. we see this unbelievable momentum for me and iowa and americans want an american iron lady and they're flipping to michele bachmann. i intend to be the nominee that deeffets barack obama. we've got to repeal obamacare. that's what i'm going to do as the next president of the united states. >> if he were to get the nomination, i've asked the other candidates -- >> he's not going to, wolf. it's never going to happen. never going to happen, wolf. it is never going to happen. >> say yes or no? >> put that baby to bed. yeah, i'm giving you the answer, wolf. he is never going to be the nominee, right, you guy?
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straight from the -- here in iowa. >> he's doing a lot better than you are in iowa. how do you explain that? >> well, because the polls don't determine what is going to happen on january 3rd. everyone said that i didn't have a chance to win the iowa straw poll. i'm the only candidate in the presidential race that's won a statewide election. i won the iowa straw poll. we're going to see a miracle happen on tuesday, i have absolutely no doubt. the people here in iowa know that, too, and we're going to see that miracle next tuesday, so we're excited. >> stand by for a moment. i want to continue this conversation. want to get some substantive national security foreign policy issues, including a new $30 billion f-15 arms sale. we'll continue our conversation with michele bachmann in just a moment.
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we're back with congresswoman michele bachmann joining us from neveda, iowa. let's talk a few national security foreign policy issues on the agenda right now. you're a member of the house intelligence committee.
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first of all, the white house announcing today a $30 billion f-15 sale to saudi arabia. you okay with that? >> i find it a little bit concerning. we're at a very volatile time now in the middle east and there's a very delicate balance that needs to be maintained. it's a complicated situation. i understand in part the motivation for the president of the united states, but i also have great pause about that. because i think in some respects, a person could say we're adding fuel to the fire and again, it's a very delicate, complex situation and i can be a little bit circumspect about my remarks because of my position on the intelligence committee. >> let's talk about afghanistan. the u.s. is continuing to spend about $2 billion a week maintaining 100,000 u.s. troops in afghanistan. the other day, karzai's government announced they were granting an oil drilling project, potentially worth
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hundreds of millions of dollars, not to a u.s. company, not to a european company, but to china. is that okay with you? >> no, of course not because this is what we're seeing. china is becoming on in the middle east region and it's because they're continuing to become an economic power house. we also can't forget that china has enabled a lot of the missile delivery systems to iran that will enable them in their quest to obtain a nuclear weapon. and it's a russian nuclear scientist also that worked with iran to help them gain this nuclear weapon that was impending and potentially on the horizon. this is all very serious. china's been a bad actor. they've engaged in commercial espionage against the united states. that's an open source documents. they've also engaged in military
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espionage against the united states. that's in open source documents and it's concerning because they completed, this was in the "wall street journal," they completed 3,000 miles of underground tunnels that contain nuclear weapons and stated in that article in the wall street that they no longer feared the united states of america. this should give great pause. to go back to the previous question, we're looking at across the world with national security. we need to be very careful about these decisions. >> but would you continue to spend 2 billion a week, $100 billion a year in afghanistan if they're doing this? >> there's no audio. >> congresswoman, can you hear me? i think we just lost our connection, unfortunately. let's see if we can reconnection. can you hear me, congresswoman? unfortunately, we just lost our
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connection with michele bachmann. let's thank her, joining us in "the situation room." also, stand by to find out why a jump in demand for guns is being linked to the presidential campaign. [ male announcer ] if you're giving an amazing gift, shouldn't it be given in an amazing way? ♪
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we turn to another hot button issue gaining traction in iowa. we're talking about gun control. michele bachmann getting ready to show off her pheasant hunting
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skills. it may have something to do with politics. let's bring in our barbara starr. she's bringing in the story. >> gun ownership in this country is always a political hot potato, but this time around, something very significant appears to be going on. >> these are like $3,300 rifles. we sold three of these over the weekend. >> in this holiday season of peace on earth, good will to men, gun sales are on the rise. maryland gun shop owner andy raymond says people are buying everything from assault rifles to handguns. >> we're totally sold out of almost all of our glocks. >> it's a nationwide trend. fbi is reporting 1.5 million background checks in the month of december alone. raymond says many already own
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guns and are buying more. >> there's the political aspect of it. a lot of people are once again concerned about that, they're concerned about what obama is going do if he is re-elected. so they want to get stuff while they can. >> criminal experts are not surprised by the chatder. >> there is a group out there every time there's a democrat going to be elected or re-elected, they say you should go out and get guns because they're going to ban guns. >> there's no indication of a new ban, but republicans again are making sure the photo ops show them at pro gun ownership. >> i actually am pro gun. use both hands. >> we have to look to public safety officials and say why is this happening. >> some of the customers we talked to in that shop, wolf, said they're buying guns for reasons we heard in the past,
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hunting, shooting, personal protection. but it was a little odd this time of year of people buying multiple guns to give as presents. we hear about electronics and tvs. people are buying guns to give as presents. >> barbara, what a story that is. thanks. stand by. we have a lot more coverage coming from iowa as we count down to the caucuses tuesday night. for our viewers, cannidy crowle will be live at the top of the hour on "john king, usa." one u.s. marine ended up getting shot after coming home. forty years ago, he wasn't worried about retirement. he'd yet to hear of mutual funds, iras, or annuities. back then, he had something more important to do. he wasn't focused on his future but fortunately, somebody else was. at usaa we provide retirement solutions for our military,
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be sure to join us in the cnn election center for the first votes in the republican presidential contest. our coverage of the iowa caucuses will begin at 7:00 p.m. eastern tuesday night. you'll want to see it all unfold right here on cnn. here's a look at the hot shots. a security guard stands next to a jumbo jet that flipped over injuring six people. in edinborough, man prepares five tons of fireworks for an upcoming celebration. in moscow, a child plays in a park full of snowman. and at a zoo in germany, a zoo keeper tries to keep a baby elephant onto the scale. they have the daunting task of weighing almost 5,000 animals. hot shots.
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pictures coming in from all over the u.s. and the world. a u.s. veteran is recovering from bullet woulds he sustained not overseas but right here in the u.s. of america. lisa sylvester is monitoring this and other stories in "the situation room." lisa, what happened here? >> he was meeting men who answered his wife's craigslist selling jewelry. they allegedly robbed him and then fired. >> i go to afghanistan multiple times and i haven't been shot or blown up and i'm here at home in florida, and here i am riding away in an ambulance with a bunch of gunshot wounds. >> he reportedly plugged the bullet holes with his fingers until the police arrived. two suspects are being held without bond. two people are dead, 50 are injured following a horrific pile-up in new orleans. some had to be transported to
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hospitals while others were treated at the scene. heavy fog was there at the time. there appears to be a tiny new island in the red sea following an underwater eruption that left lava cooling after breaking through the water's surface. nasa captured the image last week showing the new mass with the plume. the so-called island is forming along islands between yemen and there. just after the earthquake and tsunami, there are disasters reportedly washing up on the shores of the u.s. everything from japanese bottles to toothbrushes. they're also beginning to emerge. >> that's pretty amazing when you think about it, lisa. all of that stuff, junk, whatever, going all the way across the pacific. those currents must be really powerful. >> yeah. they predicted that at about this time we would be seeing this. this is probably on


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